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UK vulnerable to misinformation, fact-checking charity warns

The UK is highly vulnerable to misinformation and is currently not properly equipped to combat it, the annual report from fact-checking charity Full Fact says. The report warns that without urgent action, the UK risks falling behind the pace of international progress in protecting citizen from misinformation. It says that a combination of significant gaps in the Online Safety Act and the rapid rise of generative AI means a fundamental overhaul of the UK’s legislative and regulatory framework is needed in order to adequately combat misinformation and disinformation. Generative AI, most notably chatbots such as ChatGPT, have become more prominent parts of daily life over the past 18 months as they have been made widely available as content creation and productivity tools – including being used to create misleading images, video and audio. In its report, Full Fact warns that this technology could be used to power disinformation campaigns that disrupt or undermine confidence in the result of forthcoming elections. A number of politicians, including Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer and the mayor of London Sadiq Khan have been the subjects of misleading content – or deepfakes – in recent times. The report says that generative AI could play a role in the upcoming general election by making it cheap, easy and quick to spread content so plausible that it cannot easily or rapidly be identified as false. The charity says that concerns around the rapid evolution of AI technology are being exacerbated by what it said were “fundamental gaps” in the Online Safety Act, which passed in law last year and is designed to protect internet users from encountering online harms. “Despite promises that the regulation would apply to disinformation and misinformation that could cause harm to individuals, such as anti-vaccination content, there are only two explicit areas of reference to misinformation in the final Act,” Full Fact’s report says. “One is that a committee should be set up to advise the regulator, Ofcom, on policy towards misinformation and disinformation, and how providers of regulated services should deal with it. “The other is that Ofcom’s existing media literacy duties should expand to cover public awareness of misinformation and disinformation, and the nature and impact of harmful content. “This is not good enough, given the scale of the challenge we face.” Chris Morris, chief executive of Full Fact, said: “The Government’s failed promise to tackle information threats has left us facing down transformative, digital challenges with an analogue toolkit. “An Online Safety Act with just two explicit areas of reference to misinformation cannot be considered fit for purpose in the age of AI.” The charity has listed 15 recommendations for government, political parties, regulators and tech companies to protect the UK’s information environment, including urging either amendments to the Online Safety Act – or bring in new legislation – to better target misinformation and disinformation. The recommendations also call on political parties to commit to using generative AI responsibly and transparently. “A better future is possible, but only if all political parties show that they are serious about restoring trust in our system by campaigning transparently, honestly, and truthfully,” Mr Morris said. A spokesperson for the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology said: “We are working extensively across government to ensure we are ready to rapidly respond to misinformation. “The Online Safety Act has been designed to be tech-neutral and future-proofed, to ensure it keeps pace with emerging technologies. “Once implemented, it will require social media platforms to swiftly remove illegal misinformation and disinformation, including where it is AI-generated, as soon as they become aware of it. “In addition to the work of our defending democracy taskforce, the digital imprints regime will also require certain political campaigning digital material to have a digital imprint making clear to voters who is promoting the content.”

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Scientists reveal the fruit and vegetables with the most forever chemicals in them

Toxins known as “forever chemicals” have been found in common fruits, vegetables and spices in the UK, with the worst offenders revealed by the tests. The news has prompted alarm over potential impacts on public health among campaigners. PFA chemicals, used in some pesticides, were identified in a range of foods in 2022, according to results from the latest Government testing. Called “forever chemicals” because they can take centuries to break down in the environment, PFAs can accumulate in the bodies of living organisms and have been linked to severe health conditions. More than 3,300 samples of food and drink available in the UK supply chain were tested for residues of around 401 pesticides in 2022, according to a report from the Environment Department’s advisory committee on pesticide residues (PRiF). The Pesticide Action Network UK (Pan UK), which analysed the test results, found strawberries to be the worst offender, with 95% of 120 test samples containing PFA pesticides. This was followed by 61% of the 109 grape samples tested, 56% of the 121 cherry samples, 42% of the 96 spinach samples and 38% of the 96 tomato samples. Meanwhile, peaches, cucumbers, apricots and beans all saw at least 15% of samples containing PFAs, the analysis showed. The PRiF report said that 56.4% of samples tested contained a residue of pesticides they were testing, but this was below the maximum residue level (MRL) allowed in food by law. Meanwhile, 1.8% of the samples contained a pesticide residue above this legal level. The report said the UK’s Health and Safety Executive (HSE) conducts a risk assessment of all pesticide residues found in the testing programme and takes further action if risks to health are identified. “It is useful to note, even when a food contains a residue above the MRL, HSE rarely finds any likely risk to the health of the people who have eaten the food,” it said. However, Pan UK said MRLs do not guarantee the quantity of pesticide found in the food is safe and do not take into account the many other routes of potential PFA exposure, such as plastic food packaging, drinking water and a wide range of household products. Nick Mole, from Pan UK, said: “Given the growing body of evidence linking PFAs to serious diseases such as cancer, it is deeply worrying that UK consumers are being left with no choice but to ingest these chemicals, some of which may remain in their bodies long into the future. “We urgently need to develop a better understanding of the health risks associated with ingesting these “forever chemicals” and do everything we can to exclude them from the food chain.” Pan UK is urging the Government to ban the 25 PFA pesticides currently in use in Britain, six of which are classified as “highly hazardous”. The organisation said ministers should also increase support for farmers to help them end their reliance on chemicals and adopt safer, more sustainable alternatives. Mr Mole said: “The UK government’s much-delayed plans for limiting the negative impacts of PFAs focus solely on industrial chemicals, ignoring pesticides entirely. “PFA pesticides are absolutely unnecessary for growing food and are an easily avoidable source of PFA pollution. “Getting rid of them would be a massive win for consumers, farmers and the environment.” Dr Shubhi Sharma, from Chem Trust, which campaigns to protect humans and animals from harmful chemicals, said: “PFAs are a group of entirely human-made chemicals that didn’t exist on the planet a century ago and have now contaminated every single corner. “No-one gave their consent to be exposed to these harmful chemicals, we haven’t had the choice to opt out, and now we have to live with this toxic legacy for decades to come. “The very least we can do is to stop adding to this toxic burden by banning the use of PFAs as a group”. The Environment Department and HSE have been contacted for comment.

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Michael Palin reveals where he told David Attenborough to find ‘snails the size of steaks’

His adventures have taken him from the depths of the Sahara to the heights of the Himalayas. Travelling the world, he has produced dozens of documentaries and seen far-flung corners of the globe that exist solely in most people’s imaginations. Along the way, Michael Palin has seen all manner of weird and wonderful creatures including one to shock even the most experienced globetrotter. The Monty Python star said on his journeys through Nigeria that he encountered snails “as big as steaks”. So much so, he had to tell one of his fellow globetrotting friends: naturalist and broadcaster Sir David Attenborough. “I couldn’t believe it, they were the size of steaks,” he says, adding: “I mentioned this to David Attenborough, who I see every now and then. “He said, ‘The snails are huge in Nigeria’ and I said ‘Yes they are’. He asked me what they tasted like, and they don’t really taste of anything. So there was the odd exotic thing like that to enjoy.” His new three-part documentary sees Palin embark on a 1,300-mile journey across Nigeria, known as The Giant of Africa, with estimates that within 50 years it will be the third most populated country in the world after India and China. “I’m interested in countries that have great potential but for some reason and in some particular ways, don’t seem to be fulfilling it at the moment,” he explains. “That happens in lots of countries including our own, but it’s of particular interest when you’re a traveller and you’re curious, and it gives a documentary an edge instead of looking around and just saying that everything is absolutely fine”. He was also “interested in finding out what is really going on beneath the surface” and dives straight in during the first episode, where viewers will get to see him visit Makoko, often characterised as the biggest slum in Africa, as well as the coastal town of Badagry, which was once a slave port. He also gets a glimpse at Lagos’ bustling nightlife, and meets Yeni Kuti, the daughter of late musician Fela Kuti – who is regarded as the father of Afrobeat. Another escapade in Nigeria involved nearly losing one of the vans they were travelling in. “Most of the infrastructure in the country wasn’t working terribly well, be it the electricity or the roads, and nobody seemed to do a great deal about it. They rely on huge trucks to transport most things and they often get stuck,” he says. “We actually lost one of our vans at one point, because it got stuck and we didn’t really have proper towing equipment. “We tried our best, and the local villagers heard about the film crew getting stuck, so lots of them helped push us out of the puddles to great cheers, but the vehicle never really recovered.” The series follows the 2022 series Michael Palin: Into Iraq and the Bafta-nominated Michael Palin In North Korea. The trip is a particularly poignant one for Palin, as it follows the death of his wife of 57 years, Helen Gibbins, last year. Palin met Helen on holiday in Southwold, Suffolk, and later fictionalised the encounter in a 1987 BBC drama titled East of Ipswich. Speaking of his late wife, he said: “I was actually very glad to go in the end because since Helen died my life is very, very different.” He added that he had to “keep on working”, and that “Helen would want me to do that.” The actor said another reason for his trip was to “test” himself physically, explaining he wanted to “see if I could still do this at 80 years old – and I found that I could.” His time in Nigeria wasn’t without setbacks, however – “Most of the infrastructure in the country wasn’t working terribly well. We actually lost one of our vans at one point, because it got stuck and we didn’t really have proper towing equipment.” Michael Palin in Nigeria begins on April 16 at 9 pm on Channel 5.

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Senate Democrats condemn looming IDF attack on Rafah as Biden poised to send more aid to Israel

As tensions between the US and Israel heighten, Democratic Senators are condemning Israel’s recent announcement they have solidified plans to invade Rafah. Some 1.4 million Palestinians are currently sheltering in Rafah, a city in southern Gaza. The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) instructed civilians to move southward when they bombarded northern Gaza. Despite this, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu confirmed on Monday his military has solidified plans to invade the city. “It will happen, there is a date,” Mr Netanyahu said in a video address, per a translation from the Associated Press. Independent Senator Bernie Sanders, a staunch opponent of US aid to Israel, called on President Joe Biden’s administration to halt any assistance. “Given the conduct of the Israel and Netanyahu war machine, the US should not provide another nickel to Netanyahu,” Mr Sanders told The Independent. Mr Biden still appears to be poised to greenlight an $18bn sale of jets to the IDF as of Sunday, CNN reports. He also recently authorised the sale of more than 2,000 bombs to the IDF. White House officials told the outlet these sales are the result of processes agreed upon years ago. But the Biden administration has still repeatedly urged Mr Netanyahu to avoid a full-scale invasion of Rafah. Just last week, administration officials met with Israeli delegates to discuss alternatives to a ground assault. Both sides described the call as productive — which makes Mr Netanyahu’s recent announcement all the more perplexing. Senator Tim Kaine, a member of the Foreign Relations Committee, told The Independent that an Israeli offensive into Rafah could backfire on Mr Netanyahu. “He has to decide whether he wants US support or not, and ignoring significant concerns expressed by the President and our chief defence officials is not going to work out in Israel’s favour,” Mr Kaine said. Mr Netanyahu’s announcement comes one week after the IDF killed seven World Central Kitchen humanitarian aid workers. Following a preliminary investigation, the IDF said the attacks were a mistake. The Israeli military targeted the group with airstrikes three times in a row, despite the nonprofit clearing their movements with the army ahead of time and marking their vehicles with the World Central Kitchen logo. “This is not any more about the seven men and women of World Central Kitchen that perished [in] this unfortunate event,” World Central Kitchen founder Jose Andrés said Monday. “This [war] is happening for way too long. It’s been six months of targeting anything that … moves”. “This really, at this point, seems it’s a war against humanity itself,” he continued. Those killed in the attack include Lalzawmi Francom, 43, from Australia; Damian Sobol, 35, from Poland; James Henderson, 33, James Kirby, 47, and John Chapman, 57, all from the UK; Saifeddin Issam Ayad Abutaha, 25, from Gaza; and Jacob Flickinger, 33, a dual American-Canadian citizen. Soon afterwards, Mr Biden spoke with Israeli officials, telling them “US policy with respect to Gaza will be determined by our assessment of Israel’s immediate action” in the wake of the aid workers’ deaths. He further criticised the IDF for not doing “enough” to protect civilians and humanitarian aid workers alike. The president also called a ceasefire in Gaza “essential” last week. The aid workers’ deaths marked something of a turning point for Congressional Democrats. Senator Elizabeth Warren, a Democrat from Massachusetts, said an international court has “ample evidence” to find that Israel’s war in Gaza is a genocide. Her comments, made on Friday, referred to an “ongoing legal process” at the United Nation’s International Court of Justice (ICJ). That court is currently hearing a case from South Africa alleging Israel is committing genocide in Gaza — in January, the court ruled that South Africa’s claims against Israel are “plausible.”

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Solar eclipse: I traveled over 300 miles to be in the path of totality

The Independent’s Natalie Chinn traveled to the outskirts of Rochester, New York — right inside the path of totality — to view the total solar eclipse. The path of totality for this eclipse spanned from parts of Mexico and Texas all the way through the northeast. Over 300,000 visitors were expected to travel to Rochester and the surrounding area for the eclipse. Schools in the area closed for the occasion and many businesses altered their operation hours to give employees a chance to experience the phenomenon.

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Solar eclipse plunges Houlton, Maine into darkness

Large crowds gathered on Monday, 8 April, to view the 2024 total solar eclipse in Houlton, Maine. With clear skies all across the Houlton, Maine area, the viewing experience had the best possible circumstances. Along with the eclipse, residents and visitors of the town celebrated with a large festival including craft fairs, concerts, and community meals. The solar eclipse totality lasted three minutes and 18 seconds. Though it was a short time, the thousands of visitors in Houlton knew it was an unforgettable experience

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Why would Kieran McGeeney not be there next year? – Aidan Forker backs Armagh boss to continue into 2025

Armagh captain Aidan Forker has given his backing for Kieran McGeeney to continue as manager into next season. Armagh’s Al-Ireland winning captain from 2002 is now into his tenth successive season as manager of his native county having agreed a one-year extension last year. Although Armagh’s Championship campaign gets under way on Sunday when they face Fermanagh in Brewster Park, Forker feels continued speculation about McGeeney’s future is unhelpful. Read more: Aimee Mackin and Kelly Mallon inspire Armagh Ladies to first ever Division One title Read more: Sean Cavanagh column: GAA the April fools by giving up on summer Championship. Speaking at the recent launch of the Ulster Senior Football Championship, which was held prior to Armagh’s Division Two final defeat to Donegal, Forker doesn’t believe this is their last chance to win an Ulster title under McGeeney. “I’m not sure I wouldn’t say that,” said Forker. “Why would Kieran not be there next year when we are a Division One team and lets be a bit better than we were last year in division? “We were about three results away from a League final, maybe two results, we’d a draw we’d a one=point defeat last kick of the game. “Look at all those teams, an All Black team under (Steve) Hansen, they lost the World Cup but they didn’t get rid of him. They said you take the learnings from being at that level and bring us forward. “So the same sort of model – why would we get rid of all what Kieran (McGeeney) knows about the group and the players he helped to create alongside everyone who has supported him and not go at it together? And to me it should be Kieran’s decision whether he wants to.” He added: “It’s probably worth saying that Kieran has come under a wee bit of unfair criticism at times. “Everyone has the right to talk about how long he has been here of course, but I think if the players are happy with what’s happening and the way Kieran does things I think there should be no chat about it.” Armagh suffered a penalty shootout loss to Derry in last season’s Ulster final and haven’t won an Ulster title since 2008. They are on the so-called easier side of the provincial draw and will be expected to return to the Ulster final on Sunday, May 12. Forker is on record as saying his career would be unfulfilled if he didn’t win a Championship trophy and, at 33 years of age, the Maghery clubman knows he might not have many more opportunities to get his hands on the Anglo Celt Cup. “As a player I’m pretty adamant you play football at this level to win especially when you are playing,” said Forker. “I do have a sense of perspective that when I look back on it ill have enjoyed it and enjoyed the journey, but it won’t be completely fulfilled as you say if we don’t win a Championship medal for me and the boys around me who I want to win one for as well and who I’ve soldiered with. “And listen there are loads of elite people who have soldiered with their county for years and you don’t always get out of it what you want, but that’s not my plan and that’s not our plan “It’s not lost on me that as you get post 30 you do think about that its not going to be forever but im feeling really good physically no major knocks or bangs and training hard and got a good preseason so I have no excuses. “Playing against top teams and being in the mix like we were last year in the Ulster final which was extremely disappointing but I’m enjoying football as much as I ever had.” Sign up to our free sports newsletter to get the latest headlines to your inbox

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The Security Council revives the Palestinian Authority’s UN hopes. The US says not yet

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The U.N. Security Council on Monday revived the Palestinian Authority’s hopes of joining the United Nations as a full member. But the United States said relations between Israel and the Palestinians are far from ripe. That all but quashes the Palestinian Authority’s U.N. membership hopes for now. BLINKEN: SEXUAL VIOLENCE HAMAS COMMITTED ON OCT. 7 ‘BEYOND ANYTHING THAT I’VE SEEN’ The U.S. is one of five permanent members who can veto any council action. Members of its U.N. delegation reiterated Monday that the Palestinian Authority needs to exert control over all of the Palestinian territories and negotiate statehood with Israel before it wins statehood. The Palestinian Authority administers parts of the Israeli-occupied West Bank. Its forces were driven from Gaza when Hamas seized power in 2007, and it has no power there. “The issue of full Palestinian membership is a decision that should be negotiated between Israel and the Palestinians,” U.S. deputy ambassador Robert Wood told reporters Monday. After years of failed on-and-off peace talks, the Palestinians have turned to the United Nations to fulfill their dream of an independent state. Israel says such steps are an attempt to sidestep the negotiating process. Israel’s current right-wing government is dominated by hard-liners who oppose Palestinian statehood. Supporters of the Palestinians’ request for full membership in the United Nations asked the Security Council last week to revive the application for admission submitted in 2011. The Palestinians’ fresh bid for U.N. membership comes as the war between Israel and Hamas that began on Oct. 7 nears its sixth month and the unresolved decades-old Palestinian-Israeli conflict remains in the spotlight after years on the back burner. Israel’s U.N. ambassador dismissed any possibility of Palestinian statehood, reducing the issue to a question of his country’s very ability to survive. “From well before the establishment of the U.N., the Palestinians’ goal has be clear: the annihilation of the Jews,” Ambassador Gilad Erdan told reporters. The U.N. was founded in the wake of World War II and “the same genocidal ideology that this body was founded to combat is still prevalent among the Palestinians,” he said. The Security Council decided to make a formal decision on Palestinian U.N. membership this month and a committee that weighs membership applications will meet again Thursday, said Malta’s U.N. Ambassador Vanessa Frazier, the current Security Council president. “This is a historic moment again,” said Riyad Mansour, the Palestinian U.N. ambassador. CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas delivered the Palestinian Authority’s application to become the 194th member of the United Nations to then Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Sept. 23, 2011, before addressing world leaders at the General Assembly. “It was a historic moment then, and now that historic moment has been revived again,” Mansour told reporters.

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Feeling the life of the disabled

EDITOR, The Tribune. AS a highly educated qualified legal professional to be discriminated against due to my paralysis by my chosen profession is not only perplexing but very disappointing and extremely hurtful. What amplifies the situation is that as a father-of-six I’m unable to make a proper living and adequately take care of my responsibilities. From early childhood I’ve always been different. Fat and bowlegged I always bore the brunt of fat jokes, but coming from an extremely large family that was par for the course. Don’t think for one minute that I was unbothered, nothing could be further from the truth it hurt immensely, but I learnt to bottle it up inside and carry on smartly. I say that is to say that I was used to being singled out, overlooked, ridiculed and a non-participant in many activities. These experiences made me determined to be just one of the crew and I did all I could to fit in. When I attended St Andrew’s, oh so many years ago, all boys in the senior school were required to do “the run” which was approximately a mile and a half, but due to my obesity I was exempt. I couldn’t take that I was singled out and I chose to participate probably to the annoyance of many as what should have taken 15 minutes max took me twice that. But my life experience surrounding my obesity was nothing compared to the discrimination I now face as a paralysed person. The experience itself is hard enough to come to grips with, I suffer from anxiety and bouts of severe depression. Life goes on all around me whilst I’m bedridden and have to watch for the most part as life goes by and, or, live vicariously through the eyes of others. So being able to practice my given profession is one of the few things that makes me feel whole, and makes me want to carry on every day. I’ve been suffering under this medical condition now for almost five years and for the most part I’ve learnt to cope. One can only imagine the ignominy of a very proud man to have to endure the assistance of a caregiver to assist me with the most basic and personal of daily functions. And still that pales in comparison to the rejection I feel now. Article 26 of the Constitution guarantees me a right to make a living and the Persons With Disabilities Act 2014 codified the protection of disabled persons. Despite that I am unable to in this advanced technological age practice in the criminal courts. My paralysis prohibits me from attending court in person and that’s viewed as an impediment to an accused person as it’s said I’ll not be able to properly communicate with my client during the trial. To that assertion I say: “bovine defecation”. In order to secure my rights, and bear in mind I am not seeking special treatment but rather only the respect of being treated fairly and equally, I have had to launch a constitutional motion to access the same. In 2024, this isn’t right. My body is suffering from an infirmity, not my mind as my mental acuity has as a result sharpened. I’m distressed and I feel broken, but life is a challenge and we must find the intestinal fortitude to push on through. So why do I have to utilise the legal process to get that to which I’m entitled and to which I’ve earned? Discrimination is real, people, and I’m realising that the disabled are a second or third thought. Just recently, the Eugene Dupuch Law School has a distinguished lecture with the present and three former Chief Justices. This could have been so easily streamed online, but here again despite me making this suggestion prior to the event no provisions were made. This is the life of the disabled. Cast aside. My good Bahamian people you must do better. A very sad and dejected attorney speaking my mind. CRAIG F BUTLER Nassau, April 6 2024

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Deltec’s big damage from FTX investor ‘Gatling gun’

By NEIL HARTNELL Tribune Business Editor nhartnell@tribunemedia.net A BAHAMIAN bank and its chairman have blasted aggrieved FTX investors for employing “a Gatling gun approach” that has inflicted “tremendous damage” on their financial services reputation. Deltec Bank & Trust, and Jean Chalopin, in an April 2, 2024, filing that again urges the south Florida federal court to dismiss a long-running class action lawsuit, both asserted that the former crypto exchange’s clients behind the claim had merely fired off “a barrage of baseless conclusions” in the hope that something will stick. However, the Bahamian financial institution and its chairman argued that the claims “miss their mark completely” while again asserting that the Florida court lacks jurisdiction over them. They argue instead that the aggrieved investors should instead “reinstate” their action and bring it before the Bahamian judicial system. “Plaintiffs employ a Gatling gun approach to pleading – wildly firing a barrage of baseless conclusions and implausible inferences at the defendants in the hope that something will hit its target,” their dismissal motion argues. “Plaintiffs’ allegations directed at Deltec Bank and Mr Chalopin, however, are blanks; a loud burst of irrelevant, editorialised and often patently false statements crafted to shock and fool the reader into believing commonplace banking activity is somehow evidence of participation in a wide-ranging conspiracy. It is not. “When the smoke lifts and the non-conclusory allegations are viewed in the proper context, plaintiffs once again miss their mark completely…. In short, the second amended complaint (SAC) includes nothing more than baseless and conclusory allegations deliberately crafted to cast Deltec Bank and Mr Chalopin in a false light and damage their reputations before the court and the public.” The class action lawsuit appeared to gain new life and momentum in mid-February after its proponents seemingly received fresh ammunition from the production of 7,000 pages of Telegram messages – many featuring the Bahamian bank’s executives – by Sam Bankman-Fried’s former girlfriend, Caroline Ellison. However, in their latest legal filings, Deltec and Mr Chalopin allege there is nothing to tie them to Florida that gives the US court jurisdiction over them. “There are no meaningful factual allegations (or any facts whatsoever) to support Deltec Bank’s or Mr Chalopin’s knowing participation in a conspiracy to assist FTX’s fraud,” the Bahamas-based duo allege. “Plaintiffs, therefore, rely on implausible assumptions, unsupported speculation and innuendo, and recklessly mischaracterised communications. Even a cursory examination of plaintiffs’ hyperbolic allegations (and even taking these allegations as true), however, reveals they are baseless (at best) and wholly fail to state any claims. “Plaintiffs’ claims against Mr Chalopin are the most straightforward examples. Plaintiffs base their alleged claims – civil conspiracy, aiding and abetting, and RICO – almost entirely on Mr Chalopin’s supposed lobbying efforts in The Bahamas to encourage the passage of laws favourable to the cryptocurrency industry, his attendance and participation at the ‘Crypto Bahamas summit’, and his alleged assistance to ‘the Bahamian government in drafting crypto-friendly’ laws ‘to attract digital asset start-ups and other crypto ventures to The Bahamas’. That’s it. “From that flimsy foundation, plaintiffs leap to the implausible and unsupported conclusions that Mr Chalopin’s intent was somehow to transform The Bahamas into a ‘sandbox for fraud’ and to pass laws that ‘helped FTX achieve [a] veneer of regulatory compliance’,” Deltec and Mr Chalopin continued. “According to plaintiffs, Mr Chalopin ‘surely knew’ FTX’s actual compliance with the new laws was ‘but a fig leaf’. What is missing entirely, however, are any facts needed to bridge the massive gap that exists between allegations that Mr Chalopin engaged in lawful lobbying and the unfounded conclusions that he did so with actual knowledge of – and for the purpose of aiding – FTX’s fraud or any other wrongful conduct.” Deltec and Mr Chalopin also argued that the class action lawsuit had failed to provide any evidence they were involved in a conspiracy with FTX and its founder, Sam Bankman- Fried, who was jailed for 25 years pre-Easter for masterminding the crypto exchange’s multi-billion dollar fraud for the simple reason that “no facts exist to support it”. However, the lawsuit and associated media coverage was said to have inflicted serious harm on both Deltec and Mr Chalopin. “The gaping holes in plaintiffs’ allegations are overshadowed by how shockingly inaccurate and reckless they are,” they argued in their motion to dismiss. “By mining and sculpting cherry-picked fragments from longer Telegram chat messages to fit their agenda, plaintiffs have erected a Potemkin village, the apparent purpose of which is to hide the weak- ness in their claims from the court’s view and to inflict as much reputational damage as possible on Deltec Bank and Mr Chalopin. “Indeed, plaintiffs’ allegations have caused tremendous damage to Deltec Bank, a long-standing institution in The Bahamas that has supported innovative and emerging industries as well as prominent businesses and individuals for more than 70 years.” Accusing the former FTX investors of misrepresenting and mischaracterising what they described as routine financial services transactions, Deltec and Mr Chalopin added: “Plaintiffs selectively mischaracterise message fragments from about 7,000 pages of chat messages and add a heaping dose of rank speculation and innuendo until they are satisfied they have, as best as possible, transformed standard day-to-day bank- ing transactions into an international conspiracy. “But this sleight-of-hand pleading tactic, which has caused significant harm to Deltec Bank and Mr Chalopin, should not be condoned. After plaintiffs’ baseless and speculative conclusions are properly setaside, the SAC(second amended complaint) does not come anywhere close to stating viable legal claims against either of them.” The class action lawsuit is alleging that Deltec “assisted FTX group with sidestepping, if not outright violating” Bahamian laws and the Central Bank of The Bahamas’ Know Your Customer (KYC) due diligence guidelines for onboarding new customers and accounts. It also claimed that Deltec executives copied and pasted the KYC questions from Citibank into a Telegram chat involving Alameda Research, Mr Bankman-Fried’s private trading arm that played a central role in FTX’s collapse, so it knew what it had to do to meet Citibank’s requirements. The lawsuit also alleged that Deltec helped Alameda “track its siphoning of FTX customer funds” through the accounts the latter held with the Bahamian bank, with incoming and outgoing wires totalling between $200m and $1bn on a regular basis.

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